Its Tuesday...Outlaw Ironman is on Sunday. This week should be a week of focus, preparation and rest. Whats it like to be days away from your first ever triathlon and its the biggest of them all? Its difficult to say. There are two close comparisons in my lifetime. The first is being sat outside of Mr Lunts (head of 3rd year circa 1986) waiting to be grilled again about a spitting incident on the train on the way to school one morning. Its fear and its huge dollops of it. Fear, I think can be channelled into positive energy. It does help focus the mind on the task as the task is the origin of the fear!
The second is being sat in the changing rooms waiting to go out for the final and biggest rugby game I played in vs The Friary circa 1990. Head hidden under a towel trying to control my emotions to psyche up for the game. Always slightly removed from the team as was my warm up but it seemed to work. I took things with me onto the pitch (no not 'things' such as a knuckle duster or packed lunch), mental things. Having not played any competetive sport for so long I have become a little out of practice but this week is bringing it all back. Its bringing it back because tomorrow, 27th June, is the 25th anniversary of the death of my mom ironically (considering the cause I fundraise for) due to a brain tumour following a 4 year cancer battle. I would draw on this loss when playing rugby to stick my face under a boot without hesitation, to take a smack in the mouth from a towering opposition No 8 without concern or two stick my head into the knees of the County sprint champion to stop him flying down the wing to score a try (or as Mrs Brightside calls it a 'ball placement'!). Then though is was a reckless strength. On Sunday it needs to be a measured and controlled strength.
At the best of times I am emotionally weird. Mrs Brightside and the Rugrats tease me whenever we watch Cars and Doc turns up in Lightening McQueens pit lane in the final race because it always brings me to tears. If I watch a re run of almost any Jonny Wilkinson England Rugby moment a tear will sneak out. Yet I didnt cry at the birth of either of my children. Mrs Brightside will tell you I am not right but the situations require different emotional responses. The emotion is real, its there when your Rugs' come into this world but it is controlled. It is controlled because it had to be. To be strong, helpful or just there for Mrs Brightside doing all the work! That control is not required when Wilkinson dropped us the World Cup against Australia (in their backyard I might add!) or Lightening pushes The King across the finish line.
Its that control and measured emotional response and strength I need for Sunday. I found it in Edinburgh, lost it in Liverpool and sort of regained it at VLM. With the additional emotions of this week I will be creating a positive energy from fear and inspiration from sadness. By the same token then this is not a negative but a positive impact on Sunday. I will draw strength from tomorrow and harness it for Sunday.
My ultimate support, strength is drawn from Mrs Brightside. I have often referred to her as being my pride, confidence, heart and happiness. She is all the time although I dont always let her know it. On my handlebars will be Superbia Fiducia Animus Felicitas (which unless my reseach is wrong is latin for Pride Confidence Heart and Happiness - oh and if it is wrong dont bother telling me as I'm not changing it!). I dont need a reminder but hey there is no harm in being prepared and who knows just how dark the places I visit Sunday may be?
Mrs Brightside has been tinkering in the last week or so. She pretends not to be interested in the mins/mile stats from my runs or average mph on my rides or wetsuit thickness levels and impact absorbtion for my kit even to the extent of falling asleep while I talk about it but I know it sinks in somewhere. Her tinkering has resulted in me being voted to be an 'Unsung Sporting Hero' and be part of the welcoming party for the Olympic Torch visit to Tamworth this Saturday. Now I am not too sure about the hero bit or indeed the sporting bit but its very very humbling to be recognised like this. I will say that it is a Team Poppyfields honour really because without all those around me, supporting me, sponsoring me and particularly Mrs Brightside I couldn't do any of the events I do. I will happily stand tall for Team Poppyfields to welcome the Torch.
Like that wasnt enough she has been badgering the local press to run another article regarding the Ironman so I spent 30 mins chatting with a reporter yesterday and they will get the story in this weeks Tamworth Herald. I also caught her commenting on FB about 'bursting with pride' at the end of this week. I'll take that into my mental armoury thank you very much!
This pic is my current FB profile pic and I love it.
So I am focused now for Sunday with the strength and belief of my Ironman Widow and will be using a day of rememberance tomorrow to fuel my Ironman fire!